Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark is happy to get a closer look at teenage prospect Islam Feruz after the forward fired Chelsea into the FA Youth Cup final.
Feruz, 16, bagged the winner for the young Blues in the first leg of their semi-final against Manchester United, is the top scorer in their Under 18 squad, and has also played for the reserves this season.
Now the former Celtic youth, who was born in Somalia before moving to Glasgow as a child, will get the chance to shine for Scotland’s Under-21s when they take on Italy at Easter Road.
Stark said the friendly on Wednesday, April 25 gives him a chance to blood Feruz against strong opposition.
“He’s a young one, we’ve had our international scouts watch him a few times and we heard back good reports," said the coach.
“There’s always wee bits you can add to your game but since Islam has gone to Chelsea he has been prominent in their reaching the FA Youth Cup final.
“It’s a chance to have a look at him and see how he settles in.”
The young Scots are in the midst of a European Championship qualification campaign and earned praise after taking four points from a possible six against group favourites the Netherlands.
Stark is happy with the showings so far and hopes the test against Italy, led by legendary manager Arrigo Sacchi and with a 100% record in qualification, will keep his side on their toes.
Stark said: “The draws at home have made it a bit more difficult for us but it’s a tough group and I’m pleased with the level of consistency the players are showing in each game.
“Italy have won five games and need just one more to qualify so it is a test for our players.”